About the Commission
The San Francisco Ethics Commission was created directly by the City’s voters with the passage of Proposition K in November 1993. Through its 25-member staff, the Commission is responsible for the independent and impartial administration and enforcement of laws related to campaign finance, public financing of candidates, governmental ethics, conflicts of interests, and registration and reporting by lobbyists, campaign consultants, permit consultants, and major developers.
Monday – Friday (excluding holidays)
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM*
*Due to the City’s Public Health Order, the Ethics Commission’s physical office is currently closed, however, we are open for business and staff is available remotely by phone and email.
Informal Advice and Guidance
Providing guidance to persons seeking to comply with the City’s campaign, lobbying and governmental ethics rules is a core function of the Ethics Commission. In addition to the information on the Compliance pages of this website, the Commission provides such guidance by phone or email.
Seeking informal advice from Ethics staff offers you an opportunity to have questions answered by experienced staff by email. Complex questions that require research may take longer to receive a response.
Third party questions, hypothetical questions, and enforcement related matters will not be answered through the advice service.
Opinions are given through a formal vote of the Ethics Commission at a public meeting. After the requester asks for an opinion of the Commission, Staff will draft a proposed opinion and agendize it for a hearing at a subsequent Commission meeting. Once adopted by the Commission, an opinion provides the requester with immunity from subsequent enforcement if the material facts are as stated in the opinion request, the City Attorney and District Attorney concur in the opinion, and the requester acts in accordance with the opinion.
File Forms and Statements
The San Francisco Ethics Commission provides electronic filing free of charge that allows regulated individuals and entities to submit disclosure reports, statements, and forms mandated by the Commission and the State.
During the closure of the Ethics Commission’s physical office due to the City’s Public Health Order, the Ethics Commission will now accept certain paper forms via this Electronic Document Transmission Cover Sheet that do not have an existing electronic submission process available on this page. See Electronic Cover Sheet for more information.
Click Here and select the Form you wish to file for additional instructions.
Public Records and Disclosures:
The Commission acts as the filing officer for, and auditor of, financial disclosure statements filed by political candidates, committees, campaign consultants, permit consultants, major developers, lobbyists and designated City and County employees and officers. Disclosure statements are public records and are available for review on-line.
File a Complaint
Complaints are the primary mechanism that violations of law related to City campaigns, lobbying, conflict of interest, or open government are brought to the attention of the Ethics Commission. Anyone who suspects a violation of these laws should prepare and submit a complaint with the Enforcement Division. For additional information and/or to file a complaint, visit: https://sfethics.org/enforcement/file-a-complaint.
City law provides a process for reporting improper government activity, and an additional process for protecting whistleblowers from retaliation they might face in response to having reported such activity. Whistleblower protections apply to City officers and employees who file complaints for investigation with specifically enumerated City departments (and those who cooperate in the resulting investigations), and to City contractors and their employees who file complaints with any City supervisor (and again those who cooperate in the resulting investigations). Accordingly, whistleblowing constitutes “protected activity.” For additional information and/or to file a complaint, visit: https://sfethics.org/enforcement/retaliation
Pay Fees Online
Registration fees, late fees, penalties, and settlements can be paid online using an e-check, debit card, or credit card.
Self-Help Information and Resources
The Commission’s website contains comprehensive information and educational materials for members of the public and City officers and employees that explain the laws it administers and enforces.
Information and materials generally address the following areas:
- Campaigns (including candidates and non-candidates)
- City Officers and Employees
- Campaign Consultants
- Major Developers
- Permit Consultants
- Behested Payments